Credit Scores: Does Getting Denied for a Credit Card Impact my Credit Score?

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So you apply for a credit card with a large sign-up bonus, but you’re unable to get approved for it despite calling the reconsideration line.

Readers sometimes ask if getting denied for a credit card will impact their credit score.

Getting denied for a credit card will not impact your score because your credit report does not keep tabs on if you were approved or not for a loan.

How Is Your Credit Score Calculated?

According to the FICO website, your credit score is determined by:

  • 35% Payment History — (Do you pay on time?)
  • 30% Amounts Owed –  (Do you use a lot or little credit?)
  • 15% Length of Credit History — (How long have you had credit?)
  • 10% New Credit — (Have you applied for credit recently?)
  • 10% Types of Credit — (Do you have different credit types?)
Getting Approved or Denied isn't Used to Calculate Your Credit Score

Getting Approved or Denied isn’t Used to Calculate Your Credit Score

You can see that getting approved or denied for a credit card is NOT used to calculate your credit score.

But remember that applying for a credit card generates a credit inquiry which reduces your score.

The act of being denied for a credit card doesn’t by itself reduce your score, but your score likely decreased when you applied for the card.

The somewhat good news about being denied for credit is that you will receive a letter with your official FICO score on it for free.

Bottom Line

Being denied or approved for a credit card won’t impact your score by itself because it is not used to calculate your credit score.

But don’t forget that your score likely decreased when you applied for the credit card.

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19 responses to “Credit Scores: Does Getting Denied for a Credit Card Impact my Credit Score?

  1. Nice to know information. Thanks!

  2. Can you interview the Miles Professor, she’s smart, sassy and HOT.

  3. D, I’ve gotten to a point where i’ve got so much credit that my Card Utilization is almost always 0%, at most it will reach 1% for a month. Being in the 0% gives a C Ranking for that category according to credit Karma. And this is a fairly weighty score category.

    When canceling cards i have mostly gotten the credit limits transferred to the new or existing cards. I’m thinking maybe i should start reducing my credit limit amounts? What do you think? My Karma score is around 780.

    Thanks

  4. +1 for miles professer

  5. “The somewhat good news about being denied for credit is that you will receive a letter with your official FICO score on it for free.”

    This is not necessarily true. Part of the CARD Act was that if you are denied credit, or approved credit on less than the best terms, then they have to provide you with your “credit score.” Unfortunately, the legislation did not specify which credit score. Some banks will provide you with a FICO score, others will provide you with an in-house score or some FAKO score. Also, remember that there are various versions of FICO score, so even if you get a FICO score from a lender, it may be a specific version tailored to credit cards and may not match what is pulled by a mortgage lender or auto lender.

  6. @E – Same for me. I have a C for that section and my utilization is almost always 0% and sometimes 1% now that I’ve moved all my business spending to two business cards.

  7. I recommend that you provide more updates during the day with current news, etc., so as to keep those who already know the basics engaged. Otherwise your readership turnover will be pretty high I’d think. Just a thought.

  8. [Obscene comment directed at other blogger removed by moderator]

  9. Chase credit card applications often ask if you have been denied by Chase before. I wonder if a previous denial will cause them to deny future applications.

  10. The miles professor is ok looking, not hot.

  11. Data point, got a targeted AMEX and applied 88 days after my previous app (on the expiration date). I was denied for previously having the card which I expected, but was pleased to see they did NOT pull an inquiry, so not harm done for applying or for being denied.

  12. @Paul… ouch… judge much? LOL.

    @John, why would AMEX deny you for previously having a card?

    • @Walt K – I believe they have to provide you with the score which they used to review your application. I’ve got my FICO score from Chase and Citi, but it could be a different version than what other lenders use.

      @Miles – I’m sure it is a factor in getting approved and sometimes you can’t proceed with the application if you click that you have been denied.

      @John – Sorry to hear that, but thanks for sharing!

      @tri – AMEX has terms and conditions which prevent you from getting the sign-up bonus on some cards if you’ve already had the card in the last 12 months or sometimes 3 months prior to application.

  13. @MMS, I believe it has to be “a” score they used to review your application. As you mention, there are lenders that do provide a FICO score. In addition to those mentioned above, I believe Amex typically provides an EX FICO score, though I have read reports of them providing a different score when, on occasion, they pull a different report. There are lots of reports on myfico of people getting in-house scores or other FAKO scores, I just don’t remember for which lenders.

  14. Sorry for the dumb question, but if you are denied for a card, how long should you wait to reapply? I know there are several factors that can determine this, but if the planets all align perfectly, and all of a sudden your credit score is perfect, how long should you wait? 🙂

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